Kigali, 31st July 2011
Following a visit to a model village in Kayonza, President Kagame and First Lady Jeannette Kagame welcomed President Museveni and Mrs Janet Museveni to an official state banquet held in honor of their visit to Rwanda. As they entered a room filled with Rwandan and Ugandan officials, the sense of fraternity that President Kagame was to later mention was palpable.
President Kagame began his toast by warmly welcoming President Museveni and Mrs Janet Museveni. He reminded the attendants of Rwanda and Uganda’s historical, cultural and political bonds adding that “the sense of fraternity between our people which was evident gained strength during this visit.”
In a heartfelt toast, President Kagame thanked President Museveni for leading a liberation struggle that addressed both the needs of Uganda and of Africa. “I wish to thank you most sincerely…you provided us with vital support when it mattered most, not just as a leader in our neighborhood but as also as a Pan- African truly concerned about plight of fellow brothers and sisters.” President Kagame said.
President Kagame ended his toast with a request to “convey very warm greetings to our Ugandan brothers and sisters” and raised his glass to “continued friendship and brotherhood.”
President Museveni’s speech was an equally powerful testament to the depth of the relationship between both nations. Remembering his first time in Rwanda in 1985, President Museveni told the guests: “Today’s Rwanda is clearly different from 1985…you are showing that all Banyarwanda can live in Rwanda if they want to.”
President Museveni expressed his gratitude to Rwandans for their role in the Ugandan liberation struggle: “I salute Rwandese who participated in our liberation struggle…President Kagame was among those who helped us liberate our country.” Urging all present to build upon the strengthening relationship between the two nations, President Museveni ended his toast by extending “his sincere thanks to President and First Lady for their kindness and hospitality.”
Following these toasts, the official state banquet ended on a note of mutual cooperation and recognition of Rwanda and Uganda historical relationship and interdependent future.